cinnamon rolls

No-Dine-Out February Okay I Ate Out

img_0847

Yummy yummy cinnamon rolls!

Okay, I have a confession: I went out on Sunday. For a snack. That was sushi. I had a birthday party at a brewpub that I had already planned to attend (before coming up with my brilliant no-dine-out February plan), so I fed the family and headed out. My compromise: to use my personal weekly allowance to buy something small, so I wasn’t technically eating into (HA! I am a genius) our food budget, and I could still be social and not viewed as a cheapskate (my personal albatross from years of waitressing).

And then. When I got to the brewpub? The party had ended early! And me, with no dinner. And, more importantly: my husband was home with the kids and putting our toddler to bed for me. I suddenly had an extra hour and a half, out and about, on my own, with a couple of twenties in my pocket! Reader, what would you have done?!? I was hungry! I eschewed the brewpub and got a mocktail (don’t snicker) and a small plate at a nearby restaurant (okay it was Yakuza).

So . . . yes, I already cheated. But I don’t feel (too) badly about it. And the rest of the week has been going very well. I’ve been meticulous in outlining our various social activities in our monthly meal plan–for example, since I knew I had the birthday party that night, and a Super Bowl party during the day, I planned to make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for the family. Quick, cheap, and universally beloved! Yes, that also describes me.

Here are some recipes that have helped me out this week–all from the Pioneer Woman:

  • Seven-Can Soup: Open seven cans, pour them in (no draining), heat it up–boom, boom, boom, you’ve got some pretty tasty soup! I added tortilla chips and avocado.
  • Cinnamon Rolls: I made a huge batch of cinnamon rolls this morning (this recipe makes at last 60). I’m going to freeze them in packs of six and dole them out over the next month or two. Note: I actually use the dough recipe for her Parker House Rolls (it has butter instead of oil), and instead of the coffee glaze, I use the glaze from her Orange Marmalade Rolls.
  • Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever: I also made these for the month–it makes a ton! I’m going to freeze them in portions and thaw as needed!

I served my family (and Sid’s best friend Ernie) fresh cinnamon rolls and breakfast potatoes this morning and they lost their minds! I am actually really good about making breakfasts during the week (we need to eat, and we’re not going out before Scott goes to work and Sid to school), but it is nice to be prepared, and I’m hoping this makes us less tempted to go out on the weekends. I do love going out to brunch.

That’s my update thus far! Feel free to throw tomatoes–I need a couple for next week anyway.

turkey enchiladas

Thanksgiving Recovery

turkey enchiladas

Image via Epicurious. Get. In. My. Belly!

Whew! And how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was wonderful and exhausting, but this morning, I was confronted with the reality that it was not over: I still had a turkey carcass in my fridge that had to be dealt with. So I put on a YouTube playlist (The Daily Connoisseur gets me motivated), pushed up my sleeves, and got to work, carving off and saving the extra meat and tearing apart the bird so I could make two pots of broth (we had a 20-pound turkey this year–huge!). As I worked I had the following random thoughts, which you might appreciate:

  • Next year I need to look for the baggie of giblets a little harder. My Dad discovered it (fully cooked, in paper) while he carved the turkey. Whoops.
  • I feel like I did not sell my Fresh Herb Stuffing recipe as well as I could have (seeing that I hadn’t eaten it in a year when I typed it out). Frankly: it is gooooooood. So good! So simple, so the fresh herbs take center stage. And the texture from the artisan bread was perfect: soft yet substantial, with toasty edges. Oh, I want more. My friend Mary-Suzanne used my recipe and added some dried cherries, which sounds fantastic.
  • Finally, after 41 years, I am over canned cranberry sauce. It’s too sweet. So I need a good whole-berry recipe–anyone want to share?

Okay, fess up–do you have a bird in your fridge right now? Don’t let it go to waste! I had to toss some leftover pie this morning and was very sad. Here are my plans to put our turkey to good use:

  • Turkey broth: I follow the guidelines for my chicken broth recipe, but I usually divide the bird between two pots and make double.
  • Mexican Turkey Soup: I use the recipe from Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich, but this recipe from the New York Times looks lovely.
  • Turkey Enchiladas: This was a suggestion from a friend on Facebook–I love enchiladas, and I like to avoid traditional Thanksgiving flavors when I use up my turkey leftovers (see soup above)–it makes them more interesting.
  • Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini: I am not paleo, but my friend Melissa is, and she is fantastic at choosing recipes, so I’m excited to try this. My husband loves spaghetti squash and will be excited to eat more vegetables.

What are your Thanksgiving recovery plans? Do you have a whole-berry cranberry sauce recipe to share? Post below!

Circle of Chicken: Sid’s Soup

white bean chili

Sid’s Soup with corn muffin accompaniment!

Longtime readers will remember my Circle of Chicken posts–you start by making a perfect roast chicken and then use the leftovers to create hash, soup, broth, etc. I love the Circle of Chicken because you can make so many recipes from one $5 chicken (if you shop the sales), and I love having homemade broth on hand. Now I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite recipes: Sid’s Soup, named after my son (who loves it so).

Our good friend Amy made it for a party, and once I noticed Sid scarfing it down, I asked for the recipe. I was directed to Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom, but quickly realized that this soup was heavily adapted from a recipe for Spicy Pork Chili with Cumin Polenta. “Adapted” as in Amy’s soup didn’t have pork or polenta.

After some texting back and forth, I got the real deal, which is posted below. It’s incredibly flavorful and zesty–each bite wakes up your tongue, since it has a very mild edge of heat from the pepper and tartness from the lime juice. Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make it vegan!

Sid’s Soup

Serves 6

You Need:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced carrots
1 serrano pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white beans, soaked overnight and simmered until tender, or two 15-oz cans
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, and chili powder. Stir occasionally and cook until slightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Add the serrano peppers and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Then add the beans, tomatoes lime juice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat. Simmer for at least one hour with the lid partially open.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro and serve (preferably with corn muffins).

Big thanks to Amy Baker for sharing her recipe! Now that it’s getting chilly (at least in Oregon), who out there is making soup? What kind?

Chicken Soup With Rice

Circle of Chicken: Chicken Soup With Rice

There are two soups–plucked from my favorite childhood books–that fill some cozy recess of my soul, and chicken soup with rice is one of them.

Chicken Soup With Rice Maurice Sendak

A craving for chicken soup with rice took hold of me last week, seemingly out of the blue. In fact, I don’t have any memory of actually eating this soup, except perhaps at some diner that offered it as the soup of the day.

So I have no idea if this is an “authentic” chicken and rice soup recipe, it’s just the dish I always pictured when I read Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice. And it does seem to me like the kind of soup you can eat at any time of the year: warm and comforting, like a hug for your tummy.

Plus, I realized, this would make an excellent Circle of Chicken recipe, using the leftover meat from Perfect Roast Chicken and eight cups of Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness. This makes it incredibly convenient and inexpensive to make.

Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness

Chicken broth, ready and waiting from the freezer!

Now, if you are craving this soup and don’t have these items on hand, go right ahead with some best-quality canned or boxed broth and some shredded rotisserie chicken (or pop a chicken breast or two in with the rice, and then remove it, shred, and return it to the soup after it’s cooked through).

However, top-quality ingredients are the key to making a simple soup like this shine. I threw it together in about 30 minutes last night, and my husband is still raving about how good it was!

Chicken Soup With Rice
Serves 6

You need:

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4″-1/2″ dice
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 1/2-2 cups leftover chicken, chopped or shredded
2-3 cups of water, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Garlic, carrot, onion--oh my!

Garlic, carrot, onion–oh my!

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil; add the rice and stir. Let simmer 15 minutes, or until rice is soft. Add the leftover chicken and water, if desired (my soup got quite thick). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some warm bread and butter.
Chicken Soup With Rice

Chicken soup with rice, perfect for any month of the year.

Do you have any go-to soup recipes? Favorite children’s books? Post them below!